Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skeleton house

A house not far from me. It will be interesting to see what it's like when completed.


Musical catch-up

Sorry - it's been much too long between drinks. 

The last couple of weeks have been full of wonderful musical experiences starting with the concert at ANAM. The first half consisted of the Webern Variations for orchestra (so good they played it twice!) and a rather exciting trumpet concerto by Ledger. The second half was a performance of Beethoven's Eroica symphony - Sebastian Lang-Lessing conducted.

The following Sunday I accompanied B to the Recital Centre (P was in Brisbane) to hear an all-Mozart concert by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. Paul Dean, the new director of ANAM, played the clarinet concerto superbly; the sound went from whisper soft to full burble. The concert finished with a brisk performance of the 40th symphony.

More Mozart on Tuesday: Victorian Opera's new production of The Magic Flute. Sung in German but with English dialogue the production by Jean-Pierre Mignon was simple and very effective. The singing was a bit uneven with outstanding performances by Sam Dundas as Papageno and Janet Todd as Pamina. Suzy Shakespeare's Queen of the Night was perhaps a little underpowered, but very impressive to watch. Probably the disappointment of the night was Jacob Caine's Tamino - he sounded as if he wasn't quite up to the part, but the night we went there was nothing to justify BZ's Age review which said that Caine was better when he wasn't singing; unnecessary and cruel. Sets were faux Rousseau le Douanier and costumes definitely had a touch of Priscilla.

On Thursday night B and I had a quick meal at the Malaysian place at QV (P was still in Brisbane) before wandering down to the Town Hall to hear the MSO under the exiguous Mark Wigglesworth play Mahler's seventh symphony. What a knockout - both the work and the performance impressed. I don't know the Mahler symphonies as well as I would like and this performance has made me dig out my recordings. 

It's been very nice hearing these performances in venues other than Hamer Hall - acoustically all these other places seem to be so much better. Let's hope the current work being done on the hall results in a better listening experience.

On Sunday afternoon Gloriana gave our first concert for the year - Rachmaninoff's amazing setting of the Vespers. We sang to a packed church and the performance went off very well - Andrew R was very pleased at the end and the audience enjoyed it so much they stamped their feet as well as applauding. It was a hard sing requiring great stamina, especially for us on the top tenor line (quite often doubling the altos), but all the work paid off. 

A wonderful start to the musical year.

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